United Kingdom: zero emission target by 2030

A report compiled by a number of British research centres illustrated a possible strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 90%. Offshore wind power, the most significant electricity generation source, is expected to meet 73% of the demand.

The United Kingdom could reach zero final total net emissions by 2030. The strategy to be followed in order to achieve this target (which would be the most ambitious target proposed hitherto in any developed countries) is illustrated in the ZeroCarbonBritain2030 report, compiled by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) together with 13 universities, 12 research centres and 8 private companies.

Concretely, CO2 emissions would be reduced by 90 percent, so that they would fall from the 637 million tonnes in 2007 to 67 million tonnes in 2030. Carbon capture by biomass or other techniques would be equivalent to the remaining 10%.

The study published by CAT addresses the issue offering two solutions: firstly, increasing the use of renewable energy sources which, if fully exploited, could almost entirely meet the country’s national electricity demand; secondly, by promoting energy saving which, according to the report, could cut consumption by 50 percent.

Regarding electricity generation, the report foresees a mix that excludes fossil fuels and calls for an increased offshore wind farm share, with 615 TWh (billion kWh) per year. Hydropower and hydrodynamic power follow (83 TWh), onshore wind turbines (75 TWh), biomass (31 TWh), biogas (24 TWh), nuclear (7,5 TWh) and solar photovoltaic (4,5 TWh).

As for energy saving, the targets are: a 63% cut of energy consumption for transportation, thanks to an increased use of public transport and electric vehicles; a 50% reduction of domestic electricity consumption and heating by virtue of the thermal isolation of buildings; and an 80% cut of foodstuffs from grazing livestock that are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions.